Oppose the Fairness to Pet Owners Act 
Three reasons why Georgia's animals can't afford mandatory prescription writing 

by Dr. Spencer Tally, Pharm D, DVM, GVMA Columnist

1) As more and more human pharmacies fill veterinary prescriptions we can expect to see the cost of having these prescriptions filled escalate. A review of how human pharmaceuticals have had a substantial rise in cost over the past few years speaks to this. For example, look what happened to tetracycline. Other examples include antifungal drugs and terbutaline. Many others can be can be named.

2) Health insurance pays for most prescriptions for humans. Most pet owners don't have health insurance that will pay for their pets medication so they will end up with the burden of higher costs. Think of how your own prescription costs have increased over the past few years?

3) The health of animals in Georgia and across the nation will be severely compromised if the animal care giver cannot afford to pay for the medication for the animals. Also, there is always an increased risk of prescription fill error when the prescription is filled by a third party, especially if the pharmacist has had no training in animal pharmacology. Our concern is pet safety and affordable healthcare for the animal care giver/pet.

 

What can you do?

Tell Congress to oppose mandatory prescription writing

 

Take action by contacting your legislator today!
Please join the Georgia Veterinary Medical Association (GVMA) as we oppose the Fairness to Pet Owners Act (H.R. 4023), which would require a veterinarian to provide a client with a written prescription for domesticated household animals, whether or not requested by the client. The veterinarian would be prohibited from charging for the prescription or asking a client to sign a liability waiver related to writing the prescription.

Write your federal legislator - this alert gives you all you need - a sample letter, letter writing tips and message points.

Background

Veterinarians would be required to:

  • provide a copy of the veterinary prescription, including by electronic or other means, to the pet owner before offering to fill or dispense the prescription;
  • provide a copy of the prescription by electronic or other means consistent with applicable state law if it is requested by the pharmacy or other person designated to act on the pet owner’s behalf.

Veterinarians may not:

  • require purchase of the animal drug for which the veterinarian has written a prescription from the prescriber or other person as a condition of providing a copy of the veterinary prescription or verifying the prescription;
  • charge the pet owner a fee, in addition to or as part of the fee, for examining and evaluating the patient as a condition of providing a copy of the veterinary prescription or verifying the prescription;
  • require the pet owner to sign a waiver or disclaim liability of the prescriber as a condition of providing a copy of the veterinary prescription or verifying the prescription.

 

How you can help:

1. Identify your U.S. House Representative by clicking here and providing your zip code.

2. Write a letter asking your House Representative to oppose the Fairness to Pet Owners Act (H.R. 4023). See the sample letter and message points below.

3. Enlist your fellow veterinarian professionals to do the same.

4. Please refer any media inquiries to GVMA at 678) 309-9800 or gvma@gvma.net. We have dedicated media-trained spokespersons to ensure consistent messaging.


Sample Letter

Your address (or use letterhead stationary)

Date

The Honorable John Doe
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Congressman Doe:

As a veterinary professional, I am writing to express my opposition to H.R. 4023 the Fairness to Pet Owners Act that mandates veterinarians write a prescription for domesticated household animals whether or not it is requested by the client.

(Include one or two concise paragraphs describing your concerns in your own words).

With this in mind, I respectfully ask that you oppose the Fairness to Pet Owners Act and its federal mandates.

Your consideration of this matter would be truly appreciated.

Sincerely,

Velma Veterinarian, DVM

Atlanta, GA

 

Tips for a great letter

  • Mail (preferably) or fax your letter for the best results. You may also opt to e-mail your letter as text pasted in the body of the e-mail.
  • Refer to your legislator in the address box as "The Honorable".
  • Be succinct. Message points, below, are provided but are not required.
  • The letter should not be a form letter so use your own language.

Key Points:

  • The GVMA supports a pet owner’s right to choose where they have their prescription filled; however, H.R. 4023 is burdensome and unnecessary. It would have a tremendous negative impact on veterinarians as it would create substantial paperwork and time commitments.
     
  • H.R. 4023 requires a veterinarian to provide a pet owner with a copy of the prescription even if the pet owner wants the veterinarian to dispense the medication. This is time-consuming for veterinarians without providing any additional protection for the pet owner. Since the veterinarian is already required to write a prescription in the medical record, this law would require that the prescription be written a second time even if the pet owner has no intent of having the prescription filled at a pharmacy.
     
  • Georgia State Board of Veterinary Medicine regulation 700-8-.01-Unprofessional Conduct adequately protects pet owners by requiring veterinarians to write a prescription for clients when requested.
     
  • The American Veterinary Medical Association has a longstanding policy encouraging veterinarians to write a prescription in lieu of dispensing when asked by a client, as is referenced in the Principles of Veterinary Medical Ethics of the AVMA.

In addition:

  • Clients already have the flexibility to fill a prescription on-site or off-site at a pharmacy of their choice.
  • Open communication between the client and veterinarian is part of the Veterinarian-Client-Patient Relationship.
  • Decisions regarding a pet's care and its welfare are collaborative between a veterinarian and the client.
  • Veterinarians are uniquely educated and trained to make treatment decisions using sound clinical judgment, current medical information.